And so that was that – 32 songs competing over 4 heats, the last of which took place last night. We’ve now got 8 songs lined up for the final, and 8 more songs to compete in the second chance round next week. The 2 songs which get the most votes in that round next week, get the last two remaining places in the grand final the week after.
Heat 4 last night had a good set of songs. Not great to be honest, but there were a few gems in there. Our absolute favourite was ‘Human Frontier’ by Neo. It had everything that we had hoped to hear in so many of the songs this year – it’s a catchy song with a good tune, and an infectiously energetic, beat heavy, backing track. Plus we were pleasantly surprised by Neo’s confident performance. Despite being a debutant, he completely owned the stage (which is more than can be said for some of the more experienced performers last night), mastered a dance routine whilst swirling a cane and still managing to smile and wink into the right camera every time. Plus, we loved the whole eccentric gentric styling! Disappointingly, he was only voted into the second chance round rather than straight to the final. And even more dissapointingly, he was placed in the second half of the line up of andra chansen. That means that if he beats ‘Underbart’ in the first round pf voting next week, he’ll be up against our beloved Alcazar (who will inevitibly have beaten Jessica Andersson in their first round of voting). And that’s just torture! Two of our favourites in the whole contest competing against each other for a place in the final. It’ll be a bittersweet result whatever happens. Both songs deserve to be in the final, and actually deserve to finish in the top 3 of said final.
Our second favourite of the night was ‘Jag Vill Om Du Vågar’ by Pernilla Wahlgren. She gave us a much missed glimpse of pure schlager. The song didn’t have the same oomph as say, a Linda Bengtzing schlager MF song, but it was great all the same. And we enjoyed the performance. And the dress! Although at times she did look a bit overwhelmed by nerves. Pernilla secured the second qualifying slot to andra chansen.
The 2 songs which qualified directly to the final were ‘Hollow’ by Peter Jöback, and ‘This Is My Life’ by Anna Bergendahl. Both ballads, but both very different to each other. Peter’s was dramatic, strong, and with anthemic, uplifting chord changes. Helped along by a comprehensive lazer and light show, it was already a foregone conclusion that it would qualify to the final. But everyone was surprised when it was revealed that it didn’t outright win the heat. That honour instead went to ‘This Is My Life’ by the equally as surprised looking Anna Bergendahl. Her song was a simpler, back to basics affair – using guitar instead of Peter’s drama inducing beats, and with soothing music as opposed to the atmospheric and eerie sounds in ‘Hollow’. It did however, manage to sound just as rousing. And it was another of our favourites last night.
Sibel’s ‘Stop’ achieved a disappointing result, only placing 7th. It unfortunately drew comparisons with the similar style of Neo’s song, and suffered from being nowhere near as good. It was good of course, and we liked both the song and the performance, but it was obviously completely forgotten as soon as Neo had come on and given us ‘Human Frontier’. Lovestoned were another act that we would have liked to have seen finish higher. They placed 6th with ‘Thursdays’, not quite being able to compete with the stronger songs and performances of the heat.
Lastly, there were two songs that we absolutely hated. Noll Disciplin’s ‘Idiot’ was the least offensive of the two, but still something we never want to hear or see again. But it was Py Bäckman’s ‘Magisk Stjärna’ that was actually offensive in its utter awfulness. It’s far and away the worst song to have competed this year, and given that this has been the weakest Melodifestivalen year for quite some time in terms of song quality (an issue which we’ll return to on here once the whole show is over), that’s really saying something. How this got passed by the juries who choose the final line up of songs is completely unfathomable. What made it even worse was the performance. The nice old lady in the intro clip had somehow been transformed into Ozzy Osbourne, and pushed onstage. And she sounded no more tuneful than him either. Astonishingly abysmal!
As always though, it was an enjoyable show, with an exciting set of results. Christine Meltzer proved herself yet again to be a great host, and continued the injections of humour into this year’s contest with her Malena Ernman sketch below. Just utterly amazing!
But our favourite part of the show, as some of you who watched might have guessed, was the namecheck that we got! When introducing Neo’s ‘Human Frontier’, Christine read out a summary of his career so far – including the fact that his debut album had been nominated for two awards at the scandipop awards ”in England”! Nice one!